[permaculture] Philosophy of Science

David Travis djtravis at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 31 11:25:59 EDT 2008


Very interesting observation/question.

I think it depends on how far you want to go.

My opinion is that part of the problem is that the atomistic/mechanistic Cartesian view of nature springs from some basic assumptions about what knowledge and truth are and how we go about finding those things. I say it's a problem because a lot of post-modern / multicultural / "post-Cartesian" interpretations of science and nature nevertheless work from the same assumptions while at the same time rejecting their thematic consequences. Which is sort of like the philosophical equivalent of a big oil company saying it wants to "go green" and end global warming while nevertheless assuming that fossil fuels will somehow continue to be the world's primary source of energy.

Personally I think the way to go is with Hegel, but it would be hard to go into that here in any detail. I think Hegel is very good at fundamentally grounding both truth and science in human history and culture. The upshot of his system is that science is brought down to a human scale again, if that makes any sense, and is no longer this kind of abstract process of representing an "objective" world in a supposedly neutral way. But the other important thing is that this way of looking at things allows us to re-introduce things that would normally be left out of a purely atomistic model (by "atomistic" I don't necessarily mean modern particle physics but rather the philosophical tendency to understand things only by a discursive study of their parts, as opposed to a holistic observation of their essence).

Anyway, that probably isn't much help, but I'm glad folks are thinking about it. Good luck!

- David

> > Hello, my name is Jason Brown. I did my Perma cert this summer with Scott
> > Pittman in NM. (HI SCOTT!)
> >
> > I am currently doing a masters degree in forestry. While the material is
> > amazing and I am learning a lot. There has been a consistant mechanistic
> > world view expressed and assumed. I am working on a paper analysis for the
> > class and would like to include a critique of the mechanistic world view.
> >

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